Mental health advocacy organization Take This has revealed a new study that says hate and harassment have a bigger financial impact than you may think on a game. Generally, gamers aged 13-25 will spend about 54% less money on a game that has a toxic community. People outside that age range may think, “Who cares?” but some of the biggest games market themselves to that age demographic.
The loss of players spending on battle passes and other content wasn’t the only notable finding from the study. 6 out of 10 players aged seven and up say they quit a match or completely left behind a game because the community was harassing them. The same percentage said they avoided putting their money into a game because of how they were treated. 7 out of 10 players don’t even try certain games because of the reputation of a toxic community. Players under 18 are more likely to avoid toxic communities completely.
While you can expect players who deal with abuse in games to suffer from feelings of distress and PTSD, companies haven’t done much to combat toxicity in their player base. However, if the higher-up executives knew the hit it was having on their money, that might change. All these corporations care about is their bottom line. If they knew that their community was filled with harassment costing them money, they would likely invest in ways to have better moderation and stronger community guidelines. Sure, they would be doing it for the wrong reason, but you can’t expect those kinds of people to have morals.
Toxicity has been a known problem in gaming for decades. Of all the stigmas surrounding someone who identifies as a “gamer,” them being abusive is at the top. Hopefully, the Take This study will push gaming companies to put in more effort to knock down the amount of harassment that is spewed on their platforms.